Henry and Mathieu among 32 NFL Man of the Year nominees

Derrick Henry and Tyrann Mathieu, 2020 All-Pro players, are among the 32 men chosen as finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.

Each of the teams nominated one player for the prestigious honor named for the late Payton, a Hall of Fame running back for the Bears. The award recognizes a player for community service and excellence on the field. It has been given annually since 1970 and will be presented at NFL Honors, the TV show during which The Associated Press reveals its individual seasonal award winners.

Titans running back Henry, last season’s Offensive Player of the Year, currently is sidelined by a broken right foot. He was chosen by Tennessee for such work as making a $10,000 donation from his Two All Foundation to Jeremy Taylor, a Nashville firefighter who lost his family home and all their belongings in a fire. For the fourth consecutive year, Henry hosted a back-to-school event in his hometown of Yulee, Florida. Through his Two All Foundation, Derrick donated school supplies, backpacks, and bicycles to 200 kids. In September, he worked with the Boys & Girls Club of Middle Tennessee to host a back-to-school event that through foundation sponsors and personal donations from Henry met B&GC’s goal of providing 5,000 backpacks full of school supplies to children in need, including $50 gift cards for 25 children the club identified as the most in need. He hosted those 25 youngsters for an in-person, back-to-school shopping day with additional $100 gift cards, reflecting on his youth involvement in a Boys & Girls Club.

Mathieu, the Chiefs’ standout safety, was nominated for restarting initiatives during the pandemic. This spring, he activated a “Tyrann’s Teachers” surprise and delight along with board members of his Tyrann Mathieu Foundation. Gift baskets were delivered to 32 teachers in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The teachers were selected through a nomination process on the foundation’s website as students, colleagues, friends, and family submitted their favorite teacher by writing an essay detailing the positive impact teachers have left on the Kansas City community.

As the NFL season began, Mathieu and his foundation held their annual “Back 2 School” shopping spree. For the second year, Mathieu and some teammates surprised 32 underprivileged youngsters ages 6-17 from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City for a night of shopping and dinner. In addition, each child received a special Nike backpack filled with essentials. He also held his annual “Tyrann’s Turkeys” food distribution around Thanksgiving.

Previous winners among active players are Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson in 2020; Baltimore defensive linemen Calais Campbell (2019 with Jacksonville) and Arizona’s J.J. Watt (2017 with Houston).

The nominees:

Kelvin Beachum, Arizona

Mike Davis, Atlanta

Bradley Bozeman, Baltimore

Harrison Phillips, Buffalo

DJ Moore, Carolina

Jimmy Graham, Chicago

Sam Hubbard, Cincinnati

Denzel Ward, Cleveland

Dak Prescott, Dallas

Justin Simmons, Denver

Jason Cabinda, Detroit

Aaron Jones, Green Bay

Justin Reid, Houston

Kenny Moore II, Indianapolis

Myles Jack, Jacksonville

Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City

Darren Waller, Las Vegas

Corey Linsley, Los Angeles Chargers

Andrew Whitworth, Los Angeles Rams

Jerome Baker, Miami

Anthony Barr, Minnesota

Lawrence Guy, New England

Cameron Jordan, New Orleans

Logan Ryan, New York Giants

Quinnen Williams, New York Jets

Jason Kelce, Philadelphia

Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh

Arik Armstead, San Francisco

Tyler Lockett, Seattle

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay

Derrick Henry, Tennessee

Jonathan Allen, Washington

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